CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — West Virginia’s Attorney General was one of 22 attorneys general who came out in support Monday of Navy personnel seeking religious exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for servicemembers.
The 22 attorneys general filed an amicus brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, where an injunction against the vaccine mandate is currently under appeal, according to a press release from West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s Office.
That release also cites U.S. Department of Defense data showing that of 105,277 reported COVID cases within the U.S. Navy, only 17 deaths and 1 hospitalization have occurred; 47 religious accommodation requests have been approved and 4,251 are still pending.
Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dropped its recommendation that Americans quarantine themselves if they come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, and its recommendation that people stay six feet away from one another—regardless of vaccination status—citing that an estimated 95% of Americans 16 and older have acquired some level of immunity, either from being vaccinated or infected.
The vaccine mandate for military members resulted in more than 200 Marines being separated back in late 2021, and as of June of 2022, it was estimated that as many as 40,000 Army National Guard soldiers had not received the COVID-19 vaccination.
The other attorneys general who joined Morrisey, according to the release, were those from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming.